On Thursday of this week, Oakland Raiders Owner Mark Davis personally served barbeque to 700 Las Vegas Stadium construction workers. It was Mr. Davis’ way of thanking them for getting this far in building what (let’s be honest) will be a game-changing facility for the Las Vegas Valley.
But, considering Mark Davis and the Raiders never gave Oakland Raiders fans any kind of barbeque to thank them for all of the years of support, BBQ Becky would be welcomed to call the Oakland Police and send them to Vegas. That event was nothing less than a slab in the face of Oakland Raiders fans. And a big, juicy one, at that.
Since Mark Davis took over as Oakland Raiders Owner, he’s never actively focused only, singularly, on building a new NFL stadium in Oakland. Indeed, on the very week Mr. Davis was officially named the new boss of the Silver and Black, and after the passing of his legendary father Al Davis, Mark set his sites on having the Raiders somewhere else.
In 2011 and 2012, the talk was Los Angeles. In 2013 Davis entertained the idea of a new stadium in Oakland, and watched as the City of Oakland and The County of Alameda entered into “exclusive negotiating agreements” with people who could not deliver, but never himself presented a public architectural drawing representing what his vision was for a stadium in Oakland.
The talk of the Raiders elsewhere continued. In 2014, Davis was moving to San Antonio. Then 2015 brought Carson for the Oakland Raiders. Then in 2016 it was Las Vegas. All the while, Mr. Davis said he wanted to stay in Oakland, told Raiders fans that, but never really concentrated on doing it. Have a look from the 2015 NFL Spring League Meeting in San Francisco:
Now, according to ESPN, Davis had already held what the media outlet called “secret meetings” regarding relocating to Las Vegas. And, to top that, the Raiders misled Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf regarding the Carson attempt, and Davis was caught red-handed by this vlogger at the same 2015 NFL Spring League Meeting in San Francisco:
After losing the Los Angeles relocation vote to Rams Owner Stan Kronke January 16, 2015, Davis told Oakland officials to wait untl the Raiders hired and had a stadium point person in place, in March or April, before restarting lease extention talks that were to lead to a new stadium. Instead, what did Davis do? According to a memo from Aubrey Clerkin, then of KSNV News 3 Las Vegas, Oakland Raiders officials planned to, and did, meet with then-UNLV President Len Jessup and Las Vegas Sands legendary founder Sheldon Adelson.
Only Davis never told Oakland officials, who were happily working on updated financials for a new stadium, the infrastructure plan for which was (and is) already in place. When the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority Board realized they’d been bamboozled by Davis, talk of filing a lawsuit started, and has grown to gargantuan proportions to date. Now, with sports lawyer Jim Quinn planning a legal attack on contengency for the City of Oakland, all that awaits is the official thumbs up from the Oakland City Council. And I’m told the votes are there to make it happen.
If Mark Davis just once had a giant public dinner for Oakland, and had been straight-forward in his desires, this sad relationship climate would not exist. As NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell himself said (and at the 2016 Fall NFL Owners Meeting), the Raiders are partly to blame for their own stadium problems in Oakland.
And that comment was part of this blogger’s question regarding the Mayor of Oakland’s concerns althat the Raiders had not worked in good faith with the the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda.
And Goodell had repeatedly said he wanted the Raiders to stay in Oakland. But Davis didn’t tell Oakland what he really wanted. Davis mishandled this.
What Mark should have done, and as far back as 2014, is told Oakland politicians he’s interested in moving to Las Vegas to take advantage of an opportunity regarding gambling, but isn’t sure about it. Then worked out a kind of timetable toward a stadium in Oakland, including milestones for both the Raiders and the City of Oakland. Davis would explore the Vegas option, but work on the Oakland stadium – to the extent the City met its markets to the point of government approval and a stadium deaign and financing, Davis would stop the Las Vegas effort. In other words, an open competition.
Then, Oakland would be on the clock, as would Las Vegas, and the economic development competition would commence, with the World watching.
That’s what Davis should have done, but now it’s too late.
But Davis can still give Oakland Raiders fans a big barbecue dinner at the Coliseum to open the 2018 NFL Season. Why not? I’ve got nothing against Las Vegas and Clark County, high-praise for its government (and in particular now-Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President Steven Hill), love for its people, and believe that new stadium will be an amazing additon to Las Vegas Valley’s economy, even as I’m very concerned the Raiders can’t afford it. But Mark Davis really owes Oakland some good will.
Hoew about a slab of meat for us Mark, and on a plate, not in our face?
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media